Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Ipod we trust

Today's post will hopefully turn out shorter than normal. Not because I can't be bovvered, but because it's bad for our collective health. Apparently technology mediums are making us dependent, needy, and stifled; and no I am not confusing it with an ex boyfriend. This week's edition of New Scientist magazine, (stop snickering, sometimes one needs an antidote to Grazia), highlights an interview with cybershrink, Sherry Turkle, of Massachussetts Institute of Technology, that claims technology is creating 'tethered selves' - individuals who are never alone, never truly isolated from computers and phones, nevermind Ipods or crackberries.

It only takes a minute's reflection on life in London to recognise that not only are leopard pumps back in fashion, but that no one is ever 'on their own.' We walk out of the office and instinctively reach for the mobile to finally return those personal calls from last week. We get home after a few pints and log straight onto the BBC (or blogger if our condition is particularly acute) in case the world didn't stop while we downed a few lagers. We wake in the morning to instantly check the crackberry in case that client from overseas responded to last night's intentionally time zone incompatible email.

Action upon action to buffer the moment, because 'all by ourselves, don't wanna be, all by ourselves, anymore'. And why? Are we really our own worst enemy? I (or Satre, if you are splitting hairs) thought hell was other people. Why the modern need to share our thoughts and feelings instantaneously? A boyfriend sends us a cryptic text and we immediately phone a friend to decipher the code. Why such shameless dependency? Because presumably some third party only available down the end of a Nokia has some superior information on matters personal to our life. Why have we let ourselves get to this point? Has technology commandeered independent thought to the extreme, by which we now need others in order to feel our feelings in the first place?

If you sense an element of the dramatic in these fighting words, then I propose you try commuting without your Ipod for a day (if only to make you ditch those 'nano'-sensical ties. Thomas Pink has a lot to answer for introducing those to the already sartorial crisis of male commuter fashion). Why log onto your MySpace homepage and list your likes and dislikes, when you could be out discovering new ones? Okay, maybe we are verging on the outrageous, I realise. I mean who has time to see Kandinsky at the Tate, read Arthur & George, catch Los Olvidados at the NFT, or ever make it to Green & Red for a serious Shoreditch shot of tequila, when there are YouTube videos of J-Pop dancing Japanese teenagers to watch?

Thankfully, London is a creative capital filled with resourceful young things, or just a cesspool for conspicuous cuddlers.

Don't believe me? Check out:

Cuddle Parties: a US import (there is a novelty) where 'nurturing, non-sexual, affectionate touch in a safe and structured environment' is part of the deal. Back rubs, naps, and hugs all up for grabs, but no Eyes Wide Shut moments, supposedly. Email: cuddleparty@hotmail.co.uk for more info. The next one is this Sunday in West Hampstead.

The Lunch Club : another import from the US (because we know they like their food) with a tagline 'because eating alone is boring.' An incredibly successful (if random) social networking forum where strangers come together to eat, drink, and meet. Reports from NYC are of 'an upmarket, more downtown (read cool) than uptown (read not) crowd.' And them (read us) New Yorkers are a tough audience.

Stitch and Bitch: Bi-monthly knitting classes with various locations across London cafes and pubs. From fuddy-duddy to trendy at the drop of a needle. Because if Uma and Madonna are at it, it must be the new yoga.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Ella said...

Cuddle parties? You have to be kidding? This is not real please tell me this is not real?

6:47 pm  
Blogger ems said...

As much as I like a little contact the idea of a cuddle party has me running scared. Freaky.

9:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way this must be madness? Surely this is to wind us up Slicky? A cuddle party - so not you babe!

10:07 pm  
Anonymous gayinbrixton said...

I personally am all for cuddle parties. Our instinct since we've been kids is to just pile up on top of each other. But, somewhere along the way as adults, that became not OK.

10:35 pm  
Anonymous Chimp said...

CS well done for bringing cuddle parties to the people. We need mainstreaming. And a Big FYI - Pyjamas must be worn - nothing risque - no liquor is allowed, participants must ask permission before touching each other, and a 'cuddle lifeguard' and 'cuddle caddy' are designated to monitor behaviour."

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Ingrid said...

Lunchclub eh, I am signing up as we speak ...

10:45 pm  
Blogger Moaner Lisa said...

Technology means we are never alone but we also use it to maintain distance.

Frequent emails reduce my obligation to visit nutty aunts and uncles.

And don't we all choose quick text message instead of awkward phone calls every now and then?

9:57 am  
Anonymous Bill said...

Lunch Club looks like a good idea. Not too sure about the cuddle club though. What have we come to indeed? Must be a swingers thing, no?

10:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those ties are truely hideous
Ban them now!

5:35 pm  
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4:30 am  

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